With the release of Iron Man 2, Marvel Comics‘ plot to enslave moviegoers moved another step forward. But for those turned off by the looming onslaught of comic-book movies – Thor, Green Lantern, Captain America, etc, all building up to an Avengers team-up in 2012 – resistance is at hand. As Kick-Ass recently showed, comic-book movies no longer necessitate special powers, product placement or family values. And there are more where that came from.
Admittedly, the next graphically derived offering, The Losers represents the more explosion-friendly, A-Team-wannabe end of the spectrum, but closer to Kick-Ass is Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, based on Brian Lee O’Malley’s six-volume series (Oni Press), and led by the decidedly un-superheroic Michael Cera. Higher in brow but right up Guardian street is Tamara Drewe, adapted from Posy Simmonds’s update of Far From The Madding Crowd. Directed by Stephen Frears and starring it-girl Gemma Arterton, it’s premiering at Cannes this week.
Beyond that, the most enticing US imports ditch the Spandex in favour of wild west thrills. Josh Brolin looks promising as DC Comics’ scar-faced gunslinger Jonah Hex, while Iron Man director Jon Favreau’s next job is genre mash-up Cowboys & Aliens.
France’s comic-book movies are also going retro, with Luc Besson’s Mummy-style romp, The Extraordinary Adventures Of Adèle Blanc Sec (Fantagraphics), but one to look out for is Gainsbourg (Vie Héroïque), Joann Sfar’s adaptation of his own graphic novel on the French pop maverick. Further down the line, enticing prospects include David Fincher’s rendition of Charles Burns’s Black Hole (Pantheon), a Bruce Willis-led version of Warren Ellis’s hitman thriller Red (Wildstorm), and, of course, Spielberg and Jackson’s Tintin. If they all join forces, the Marvel monster might meet its match.